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"Madeleine kept our children, 10, 13, 15 yrs interested and engaged (as only a former teacher can), and her depth of knowledge was welcome by the adults in the group."

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Blooming Marvellous! - The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Which plant did Adam and Eve take as a reminder of the Garden of Eden? What was the Burning Bush?

Questions like these and many more can be answered by touring the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

Today I joined a tour for English-speaking tour guides of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Nayot situated close to the Israel Museum and Knesset. Although I live just a short distance away from the Gardens and have visited them on several occasions since they were opened to the public in 1985, I was very excited to learn about the new programs on offer to the public and see how far the area has developed in the past few years.

Something is always blooming in the Gardens' six geographical sections, which replicates landscapes from around the world. Here, you can travel from Europe to North America, from Southern Africa to Australia, and from Asia to the Mediterranean, without stepping on a single plane!

We started our tour on the Flower Train passing through landscapes of the six geographical sections. We learned about medicinal plants, the new Bonsai Garden being opened with the assistance of Japanese friends and a grass maze for children. We were introduced to the Bible Path and learned how botanical metaphors were used to convey moral and other messages in a language the ancient Hebrews would have easily understood.

With the largest plant collection in Israel (some 10,000 species), the Gardens truly present 'biodiversity live'!

Diversity in the Gardens is also reflected by the diversity of the visitors.  Whether it's families with young children, senior citizens, religious, secular and ultra-orthodox Jews, Arabs, new immigrants, people with special needs - everyone benefits from nature and exposure to the beauty and tranquility of the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

Special activities for children and families are organised for private groups.

Next time you visit the Israel Museum or Knesset, take time out for a tour of the Botanical Gardens. You can also enjoy a meal or light refreshment at the lakeside restaurant.

NB Thanks to reciprocal membership schemes, holders of subscriptions to the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens get free entry to the San Diego Botanic Garden and the Chicago Botanic Garden too!

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